High Fat Diet :: Why we prefer fatty foods
A study attempting to find out exactly why we prefer fatty foods could help manufacturers to design tasty, low fat diet and foods that are less likely to make people overweight.
This could have implications in the ongoing battle against obesity – the European Commission now says that 14 million Europeans are obese or overweight, of which more than 3 million are children.
The Nottingham University study, which is funded with more than ?370,000 from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, will focus on the chemical signals that are sent to the brain. Experts are still unsure why high-fat foods are so tasty but they do know that the taste and aroma of food, which makes up its flavour are due to special chemicals that are present in it.
These chemicals send signals through the mouth and nose to the brain and the Nottingham scientists believe that the way in which these signals affect different areas of the brain plays a large part in how much we enjoy our food.
The way in which these chemicals affect the brain may be altered by the amount of fat in food, but the pleasure we experience when eating a good meal is also affected by texture, for instance, the creaminess of an ice cream. Previous studies have shown that we prefer the texture of fatty foods.
“The taste and texture signals from the mouth and the aroma signal from the nose interact with each other in the association areas of the brain to influence our likes and dislikes for food,” said professor Robin Spiller of the Universitys Wolfson Digestive Diseases Centre.
“Nottingham food scientists have shown that swallowing a food increases the delivery of the foods aroma to the nose and the thickness of food in the mouth alters taste, but we still do not know why fat has such a strong effect on increasing our preference for food.”